Dutch to join French-led mission in Strait of Hormuz with frigate

The Dutch government has announced on 29th November that it would contribute De Ruyter (F804) frigate to the European-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) from the end of January to the end of June amid regional tension with Iran.

Dutch to join French led mission in Strait of Hormuz with frigate 925 001 HNLMS De Ruyter frigate (Picture source: Dutch Defense Ministry)

« To enhance maritime security in the Gulf region, from the end of January to the end of June 2020 the Netherlands will make a military contribution to the French-initiated, European-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH), » the Dutch government said in a statement.

« Tensions in the Gulf region have risen steadily higher in recent months. Incidents that disrupt shipping and raise uncertainty have direct consequences for the world economy including for Dutch shippers. This has an immediate impact on Dutch economic and security interests, » it added.

The Dutch government has, for this reason, decided to contribute the frigate Zr. Ms. De Ruyter with an onboard helicopter to EMASOH and to second a number of staff officers to its headquarters. The mission’s goal is to prevent further incidents in the region. It also includes a diplomatic track, which will focus on de-escalating tensions, for example by means of an inclusive regional dialogue on maritime security. In this way, the mission, in line with the Netherlands’ own points of departure, aims at an integrated approach to maritime security in the Gulf region.

Because of the importance that the government attaches to maintaining the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Netherlands will join other European countries as a shareholder of the Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). INSTEX is designed to facilitate legitimate trade between European companies and Iran by limiting the impact on European companies of US sanctions against Iran.

« We will monitor the maritime activities to promote free passage. The Strait of Hormuz is an important economic strait through which around 35% of the petroleum transported by ship passes through. It is also a political signal that we are sending out: European presence. All efforts are aimed at preventing escalation, » the De Ruyter frigate commander, Theo Klootwijk, explained on the Dutch Ministry of Defense website.

HNLMS De Ruyter is a De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate of the Royal Netherlands Navy. It was laid down in 2000, launched in 2002, and commissioned in 2004, the third ship of its class to enter service. The frigate is named after Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter.